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42nd Rept. 




3 1833 01084 7033 


42nd R( 



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AUGUST 20, 1908 














The forty-second annual reunion of the Old Settlers of 
Johnson county is an event of the past. In recording the 
event the officers of the association will state that the 
reunion held at the log cabin Thursday afternoon was one 
of the most successful held in the history. The weather 
united with the efforts of the committees in making the 
affair an enjoyable one. Following the public dinner, the 
program, consisting of several numbers, was held. Rev. 
Schwimley invoked the divine blessing. President 
Charles Baker then spoke a few words and introduced 
Woods White of Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. White is the son 
of Dr. W. H. White, formerly of this city. He spoke of 
recollections and made a very short informal talk. 
Judge Wade was then introduced. He spent some 
time in telling amusing stories and closed with a 
glowing tribute to the manner in which the pion- 
eers endured the hardships of the time in which they lived 
and at the same time built up the community for their 
children who are now following them. Matthew Cavan- 
augh was called upon to read the letters written to the 
association by those who intended to be here but were 
unable to attend. Mrs. Hoxie read a familiar poem and 
the program was ended. 


Forty-second Annuol Meeting of the 

The election of officers, which was held immediately 
after the program, resulted in the choice of the following : 

President — George R. Hall. 
Vice President— M. S. Shircliffe. 
Secretary — G. R. Irish. 
Treasurer — H. J. Wieneke. 


The following letters were read before the reunion by 
M. Gavanaugh. They contain many interesting details 
and are given in full : 

Council Bluffs, Iowa, July 24, '08. 
M. Cavanaugh, Mary 0. Coldren, Geo. W. Ball, 

Dear Old Friends: — I assure you that nothing I know 
of would give me more pleasure than to be present at the 
"meeting of the Old Settlers of Johnson county," on 
August the 20th. But from the present outlook am afraid 
il will be impossible. My earliest recollections of Iowa 
City and Johnson county, date back to September, 1841. 
My father died there in 1845, and some of the sweetest 
memories of my life are in the 25 years spent in old 
Johnson county. 

Hoping you will have a full turn out, and a memorable 
meeting, I am Yours truly, 


Aledo, Illinois, August 17, '08. 
To the Committee of Old Settlers Association. 

Gentlemen: — I am in receipt of your kindly remem- 

Old Settlers Association of Johuson County 


brance, the invitation to your annual meeting of Old 
Settlers of J ohnson county, and I have delayed thus long, 
thinking could arrange to be in attendance but find that 
it will be impossible for me to do so. 

I would be glad to look into the dear old faces and 
speak my greetings to each one, as I would clasp their 
aged hands and with thankfulness remember our heaven- 
ly Father who has kept us so long, and a prayer that He 
will continue his mercies and loving kindness in the years 
to come, hoping they may be many. 

Wishing for you a pleasant day and enjoyable coming 
together, I am, Very cordially yours, 


Omaha, Nebraska, August 6, '08. 
M. Cavanaugh, Mary 0. Coldren, Geo. W. Ball. 

To the Hon. Committee of the Old Settlers Association 
of Johnson county, Iowa, to be held at Iowa City, August 
20th, 1908. Mrs. Dr. Henry Murray sends greetings and 
best wishes for a good time. 

My good husband and myself were at the organization 
of the Old Settlers Association, and we always took a 
deep interest in the annual meetings, and while we lived 
there were always present. The infirmities of old age 
forbids my bodily presence today, but my heart is with 

When I came to Iowa City in 1841, a bride, all of the 
now beautiful city north of Market street was a wilder- 
ness. The principal business was on the two blocks at the 
intersection of Clinton and Jefferson streets. And all 
east of Johnson street was very wild. Beautiful College 
street park was a wild strawberry patch and a rattle 


Forty-second Annual Meeting of the 

snake den. When memory turns back to these things, 
and sees the wonderful changes that the years have 
wrought it seems almost like a dream. 

When I remember all the legion of dear friends of 
these early days, who have one by one gone to the 
shadowy land I feel almost alone, and think it very, very 
kind and sweet of your committee on invitations to 
remember me, whose home for over fifty years was in 
Iowa City. But under force of circumstances was com- 
pelled to make my home elsewhere. 

Iowa City is always a loved spot, and very dear to my 
heart, and its prosperity is always a gratification to me. 

And now good friends, I wish you a jolly good time, 
not only today, but for many years to come. 

Very sincerely yours, 


Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 3, 1908. 

My Dear Friends: — I am very much indebted and 
obliged for your kind invitation to be present at Old 
Settlers meeting, August 20, 1908. I should be much 
pleased to be with you and renew acquaintance with you 
and so many whom I remember so kindly. 



Rockaway, California, July 15, '08. 
Hon. M. Cavanaugh: — My wife and family join me in 
acknowledging receipt, and thanking you for the invita- 
tion to the "Old Settlers" meeting, a place we would like 

Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 7 

to go, but circumstances are such we will not be able to 
attend. We are enjoying the cool, invigorating air of the 
Pacific and will be glad to welcome either of you should 
you pass this way — and extend our regards to all the old 
settlers, and tell them we hope they will have a pleasant 
day and enjoy themselves as old settlers can. 


Washington, D. C, August 12, '08. 

Major Richard Sylvester presents his compliments and 
best wishes to M. Cavanaugh, Mary 0. Coldren, George 
W. Ball, committee, and to the old settlers of Johnson 
county, Iowa, for their kind invitation extended to his 
mother and himself to be present at the annual gathering 
of the pioneers of Johnson county to be held on the 20th 
day of August, 1908. 

Major Sylvester is the oldest of forty-three grand- 
children born in the state of Iowa, many of them grown 
up to manhood and womanhood, and who have gone out 
to engage in the battle of life in the various sections of 
our country and carried with him the fondest recollections 
of his birth place made doubly dear by reason of his 
grandfather, Rev. Robert W. W. Woods, a former pioneer 
in the settlement of the magnificent county of Johnson 
and his father the late R. H. Sylvester, having started in 
life as a newspaper man in Iowa City where he be- 
came prominent for many years in the affairs of that 
locality and for the further reason that from this country 
many of his relatives went into the war of the rebellion 
many years ago and since that time several of their num- 

8 Forty -second Annual Meeting of the 

ber have found resting places in the cemetery at Wood's 

Major Sylvester feels it is a great disappointment that 
he cannot be with you owing to circumstances over which 
he has no control, but he sends greetings, best wishes and 
assurances of his esteem for all those who may participate 
and prays that they may have a profitable and enjoyable 
time and he hopes that another year there may be afford- 
ed him an opportunity to join with those friends of his 
mother's and his own childhood days in their annual 

Fishers Island, N. Y., July 28, '08 

Dear Mr. Cavanaugh: — I have the pleasure of ac- 
knowledging the receipt of your kind invitation for the 
20th of August and I thank you most heartily for it. 

As I take it this invitation is sent me, as the only living 
representative of my father, who was one of the early 
settlers of Iowa City. And yet in a sense I think I may 
justify a recognition on my own account from the fact 
that I was among the first of those who were born there. 
The fact that I did not first see the light of day elsewhere 
and afterwards emigrate to Iowa City, did not render me 
any the less an early settler. 

This circumstance of my birth in Iowa City gives me 
» great affection for the place, and I confess that, though 
the major part of my life has been lived elsewhere, as the 
years roll on I find my thoughts turning more and more 
to the old home of my boyhood, and I begin to feel that 
1 should like to end my life there, where it began. 

You can, therefore, understand how deeply your kind 

Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 

invitation is appreciated, and were it possible, I should 
be glad to be present with you. It is possible that I may 
be able to visit Iowa City this fall, but I regret that I will 
not be able to be there early enough for the time desig- 
nated for your meeting. 

How many of the old settlers of pioneer days, contem- 
poraries of my father, are now living I do not know, but 
I am persuaded that the honor of being a pioneer is a 
distinction that is not now lightly regarded, if I may 
judge from what I have often noticed in the newspapers 
of Iowa City. It seems to be the view of the editor, no 
matter how recently his own residence there may have 
begun, to regard it, that any one having preceded him in 
such residence occupies a most enviable position, and is 
justly entitled to be called a pioneer, evidently consider- 
ing that to be one of the most honorable distinctions that 
can be accorded. And so I have often noticed that the 
death of such a resident is chronicled with headlines in 
large type "Another Pioneer Gone." Although the ad- 
vent of the deceased in Iowa City was long after the 
pioneer period had passed. I have often wondered that 
my esteemed friend, Mr. Gill Irish, who knows what the 
real pioneer days were, has not, notwithstanding his great 
amiability, raised the voice of protest, not that those who 
came later are not appreciated, for they are deserving of 
all honor, and we, (if I may say we) open wide the doors 
and they may have every distinction within our recogni- 
tion, save only one, that of pioneer. In time they may be 
ranked as "Old Settlers," the older the better, and the 
nearer they are to the pioneer the greater the distinction 
to which they are entitled, but the supreme and highest 
of all is, and must ever belong to him who led the way — 
the pioneer. 

Again thanking you and regretting my inability to be 
present, I am, Yours very sincerely, 


io I 'orty '-second Annual Meeting of the 

Cupertino, California. 

Mr. Cavanaugh : — Your card of invitation to be present 
at the annual meeting of the old settlers of Johnson 
county is gratefully acknowledged. 

That I cannot be present occasions much regret. 

I may offer as a sentiment, may the inheritance so near 
to the entire surrender of the "old settlers" into the 
hands of their children and their foster children be kept 
untarnished and sacred to the memory of tho noble men 
and women whose life record bears no stain of dishonor. 


A Foster Son. 


Frederick W. Hempstead of Newport Center was the 
oldest person on the grounds at the picnic. He is past 
94 years and has been a resident of this county for many 

Mr. F. X. Rittenmeyer, aged 92, was the second oldest 
resident. He will be 93 years of age in about two months. 
Mr. Rittenmeyer came to this city in 1856 and was the 
supporter of many enterprises. He was telling a story at 
the picnic of his experiences with steamboats on the Iowa 

J. K. Strawbridge who is 90 years of age, was also at 
the reunion. 

Sion Hill, aged 88, who came to the county in 183&,. 
related some of liis experiences during the first celebra- 

Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 


tion of the 4th of July in 1839. He was also present at the 
laying of the corner stone of the Old Capitol bnilding. : 

Miss Hannah Ten Eyke, the first white child born in 
Iowa City and William Dunkel, the first white boy born in 
Iowa City were at the reunion. 

W. N. Chalfant, Bryan Dennis and J. K. Strawbridge, 
who are the only three survivors of the first 60 who signed 
the constitution of the Old Settlers Association, were 

In looking over the records of the organization it was 
found that only ten of the first 110 signers are living. 
The three mentioned above, together with J. P. Irish, Q. 
R. McCrory, John E. Jayne, A. Beermaker, Jas. T. Rob- 
inson, A. E. Swisher and Matthew Cavanaugh. 

Among the other oldest settlers who were present at 
the picnic were the following: Mrs. Ritter, aged 90, who 
settled here in 1838; Mrs. Dennis, aged 82; Mrs. Tucker, 
aged 93, who settled here in 1843; Mrs. Tantlinger, aged 
74, who settled here in 1842; Jacob Stover, aged 85, set- 
tled here in 1838; Henry Walker, aged 71, settled here in 
1838; Garret Lancaster, aged 80, who settled here in 
1838; Mrs. Le Grand Byington, aged 83, who settled here 
in 1849 ; J. T. Robinson, aged 86, who settled here in 1840 
and has been prominent in the political life of the county; 
William Emmons, aged 70, who is now residing in Port- 
land, Oregon; Samuel Spinden, aged 76, who settled here 
in 1847; A. W. Beuter, aged 72 and settled here in 1848; 
J. E. Adams, aged 75, and who settled here in 1855; Mrs. 
Franklin Kimball, aged 83, and settled here in 1839; 
Alex Huffman, aged 74 and who settled here in 1850; 
Mrs. Joel Clark, aged 65, who settled here in 1844; M. 
Cavanaugh, aged 76, who settled here in 1839; J. A. 


Forty-second Annual Meeting of the 

Stevenson, aged 84, who settled here in 1856. Mrs. Walter 
Lee, Sr., of Chicago, the daughter of Prof. Parvin, was at 
the picnic grounds. 

Resolutions were adopted which thanked the retiring 
officers and committees for the work done in preparing 
for the reunion; Bruce Moore for making the delicious 
coffee; the papers for the publicity and mention given for 
the plans for the reunion; and to W. Hughes for the music 
played during the day. 

Those present who enrolled their names upon the books 
of the secretary were as follows: 



.John L. Adams 

Ira J. Alder 

J. E. Adams and wife 

Albert Bumgardner 

VVm. J. Bo wen 

W. H. Buchanan 

George T. Borland 

David Borts 

John A. Burk 

C). A. Byington 

Mary Byington 

J. 0. Beck 

W. 1). Cannon 

Thos. Crozier 

Matthew Cavanaugh 
Thomas Cox 
Earl Cuscei- 
Mrs. J. H. Clark 
J. C. Cochran 
Sarah P. Cropley 
J. K. Corlett 
Bryan Dennis 
Nicholas Dalscheid 
Elizabeth Dennis 
David M. Dixon 
John Dohrer 
L. D. Davis 
Wm. Dunkel 

Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 

William Ernest 
John Greulich 

E. H. Ely 
Minnie Evans 
William Evans 
S. P. Fry 
Annie M. Fry 
S. H. Fairall 

Isaac and Mrs. Furbish 

Arthur Folsom 

R. B. Graham 

W. A. Kettlewell and wife 

A. G. Kent 

George W. Koontz 

C. F. Lovelace 
J. J. Metzger 

F. M. McReynolds 
Lydia McKray 

W. H. Mella 

Mary E. Miller 

Mary L. Miller 

Bruce Moore and wife 

George McGruder 

M. J. Moon 

Mrs. Joseph Michael 

Mrs. R. J. Miller 

J. W. Murphy 

Thomas Metcalf 

Benjamin Owen 

George W. Pinney 

W. A. Pratt 

Elias Patterson 

Chas. H. Palmer 

Iowa Byington Reed 

Jacob Ricker 

F. X. Rittenmeyer 

Mrs. Ricord 

H. L. Rowland 

James T. Robinson 

Milton Remley 

Chas. E. Robinson 

D. A. Reese 
Mary M. Randall 
W. A. Rohret 
Mrs. C. M. Riley 
A. A. Roegler 
Horace Sanders 

John A. Stevenson 

J. W. Schell 

A. E. Swisher 

George Hunter 

Esther E. Hunter 

R. P. Howell 

Sion Hill 

A. R. Hedges 

G. R. Hall 

Charles Heinsius 

Wilhelmina Horton 

Jonathan Ham 

Chas. Huebner and wife 

J. R. Hughes 

T. D. Hughes 

Mrs. Mary Hemphill 

Annie Hope 

George A. Hitchcock 

O. C. Hill 

Alexander Huffman 

L. W. Hardin 

Lemuel Hunter 

Mrs. C. W. Irish 

Miss Elizabeth Irish 

Mrs. G. R. Irish 

G. R. Irish 
John E. Jayne 
John Jacobs 
Samuel C. Jones 
O. A. Byington 
Frank Stratton 
Joseph E. Stouffer 
Adam Schwimley 
N. W. Scales 
Frederick Schneider 
M. S. Shircliffe 

Euclid Sanders and wife 
Frank Stackman and wife 
Joseph Slavata 
Mary H. Ten Eyke 
Hiram Toms 
W. S. Thomas 
Thesba Tarbox 
Mary Von Stein 
Isaac S. Weeks 
E. P. Whitacre 
Henry Wieneka 


' Forty -second Annual Meeting of the 

Mrs. Henry Wieneke 
Edna B. Wilson 
James White 
Henry Walker 

Mrs. Joseph Walker 
Martha S. Walker 
Samuel Yarbrough 
Eliza Yarbrough 


To the Old Settlers Association of Johnson County, Iowa r 
Again the frosts of winter have touched with the finger 
of death the flowers and trees, covered the hills and dales- 
with a shroud of snow, and converted the rippling streams, 
into dead and silent masses of glittering ice. 

Again the balmy air of springtime has uncovered the 
snow clad hills, touched with life the dormant buds and 
unlocked the frozen streams. Again the summer heat 
hns clothed the earth in a mantle of green, and brought 
back to us the flowers, the fruit and fields of waving- 
grain. Again the shortening days, the receding sun and 
smoky air reminds us that another year is past and soon 
nil things will be touched with the deathlike hand of 
winter. The list of Old Settlers who have died since 
the last reunion is of unprecedented length, and contains, 
the names of many long time members of the association 
and those who have been prominent in business and so- 
cial circles. As far as obtainable the ages are given. 


Iowa City, August 20, 1908. Committee 

Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 15 







Mrs. Bridget Galvin 


Christian Kurz 


SEPTEM BER, 1907. 

John N. Watson 


Mrs. David Henry 

Mrs. Catherine Matoush 75 

Albert Ranshaw 


Harry Figg 


John Krupp 


Michael Kessler 


Joseph Gimble 


John A. Hughes 8 

3, 8m, 9d. 

Mrs. Anna Weber 


Mrs. Lillian White Grant 

Mrs. John D. Colony 

a a 

Mrs. John M. Fisher 


Cemiah Snair 


Delbert E. Hawk 


OCTOBER, 1907. 

Geo. W. Bale 


Mrs. John Thompson 

J. E. Sullivan 


Mrs. C. D. Wolf 


Joseph Sedovec 

Wm. Baughman 


Zachariah Smith 


Leo Strohmeyer 


Laurence Cusack 


Alexander Corbitt 


Dr. M. B. Moon 


James Machovec 


NOVEMBER, 1907. 

John Startzer 


Albert Neider 


James Monroe Adams 


Chas. Magowan 


Wm Rittenmeyer 


LeGrande Byington 


L. D. Porch 


Mrs. Joseph Chadek 


Mrs. Peter Huffman 


Mrs. Ernest Landsberg 


Miles K. Lewis 


John Zeigler 


John Meade 




Charles Chansky 


John Jones (Colored) 


Mrs. Dora Zager 


Mrs. Catherine Leslie 


Mrs. Minnie P. Parmley 40 

Abraham Rarick 


Mrs. Anna Eaton 

Mrs. Mary E. Cambridge 


Mrs. Minnie S. Schofield 

Mrs. Martin Vevera 


A. C. Carson 


Hiram Rhoadarmer 

Mrs. Jessie H. Hartsock 

Miss Annie Francis 


•George A. O'Brien 


Jacob McVey 


Paul Ward (Colored) 


Mrs. Catherine Gallager 


j6 Forty -second Annual Meeting of the 

JANUARY, 1908. 


Miss Louisa Biebesheimer 

Joseph Kasper 


Pansy Evans 


John Hrdlicka 


Mrs. Jennie G. Abbot 


Mrs. Rose Tanner Hess 


Mrs. James Cherry 


James Unash, Sr. 


Mrs. Harriett H. Breene 


Henry Vanderlip 


Mrs. Josephine Denter 


Mrs. Elizabeth Alberhasky 


Joseph Panzer 

John Kennedy 


Mrs. M. Fitzgerald 

Samuel Hinkley 


Mrs. Charles Bryan 


FEBRUARY, 1908. 

James Bartacek 


Mrs. Frances Beszdek 


Mrs. Samuel Manatt 

Mrs. Catherine Schneider 


Thomas Connor 


Mrs. C. C. Swartzendruber 


Frank Mekota 


Miss Anna Floerschinger 


John Dilatush 


Mrs. Barney Mattlmore 


Mrs. Annie Weeks 


Thomas Morrisey 


lacob Fesler 


Mrs. Mary Pudil 

Mrs. Elizabeth D. Taylor 


Joseph Babbitt 


H. K. Simonton 


Wm. H. Cotter 


John Chansky 


Mrs. Nancy Adams 


Mrs. Margaret Champion 


Patrick Quinlan 


Mrs. C. Zimmerman 


Mrs. Joseph A. Darner 


Mrs. Ellen Noonan 


F. L. Lewis 

Mrs. Joseph Yanda 


Miss Mollie Stoner 


James Sherman 


Bryan H. Dennis 




Mrs. J, \V. Butler 


Mrs. Marie Fischer 


William C. Anthony 

John Sherman 


Mrs. Eliza B. Cadwalader 

Mrs. Ada C. Nesmith 


William Cole 

3 8 

Ed. Cannon 


Mrs. Charles Lewis 


Mrs. Bertha Dehner 


Martin Hressler 

Mrs. Peter Frantz 


Prank Tillotson 


Mrs. Wm. Elliott 


Mrs. Thomas Morrlseey 


Mrs. Deborah Cowperthwaite 

Richard a. Carleton 



Dr. Oscar Kuntze 

Timothy Kalene 

John K ubi k 

7 3 

Mr si. Margaret Run yon 


Owen Rowland 


S. S. Hess 

Charlei Bhlrclifl 

Alfred G. Blair 


James Conlon 

5 6 

Mrs. Thos. Gregory 

5 6 

Rhettl Burns 

Sarah A. Figg 


Mrs. Anna Robinson Rule 

Mayme Ryan 


Old Settlers Association of Johnson County 17 

APRIL, 1908. 

Mrs. Jonas Miller 


Mrs. Finetta Schley 


J. V. McRaith 

Alexander Lindley 


Mrs. John Rohrig 

a c 

Sfpnhpn T Yoflpr 

Mrs. Mary Schlenck 

n a 

Tra Srhindhflm 


Daniel Corbett 

7 7 

lVTr<? P.athprinp Hawlpv 


John Smiley 


Mrs Sarah Holmes 


Thomas Pursall 

TflrnpQ Smith 


Mrs. Michael Kelly 



Samuel J. Hess 

Mrs. Anna Prybil 

a 1 

James A. Borland 

Mrs. Timothy Fairchild 


Albert Swaner 

Richard W. Whittaker, 


Julia Dicus 


Mary C. Myers 

Nathan Owens 

Emily Catherine Merrill 


Kathryn Brennan 


Mrs. Ellen Vanfleet 


John Hunter 


Mrs. John Carroll 


Edward Breese 

Mrs. Geo. Dansdill 

Samuel B. Shellady 

F. J. Epeneter 




Dr. 0. IN. r enows 

* 8 

Geo. W. Nelson 

7 'J 

Mrs. Mary Peters 

Q Q 

Mrs. Charles Dummer 


Mrs. Wm. Harback 

Mrs. Philip Omsler 


Joseph Schonborn 

Alva Oathout 


j Uocyii on u 11 nit; y tri 

6 r > 

Mrs. J. F. Shepherd 

7 X 


1 908. 


Rev. Patrick Smyth 


Mrs. Daniel Gillis 

Miss Emily H. Starr 


Eli Bell 


Mrs. Vienna V. Paul 


John W. Jayne • 


Mrs. M. K. Ahrens 


Mrs. Dennis Kerrigan 


AUGUST, 1908. 

Dr. James Rigg 

Mrs. Mary J. Barrer 


Joseph Kettlewell 

Albert J. Zenishek 


Jas. Robinson 


Mrs. J. W. Fackler 


The executive committee ordered the procuring and 
publication of sketches of Philip Clark and Eli Myers. 
The pictures will recall to a few of the members of the 
association many events of the early times. 


Eli Myers was born September 20, 1813, in Preble Co., 
Ohio. In search of a place to locate he visited the then 
new settlements in Elkhart county, Indiana, in 1836. 
There he formed the acquaintance of Philip Clark, who 
like himself, was seeking a location for a home. 

Learning that the Indians were about to sell and va- 
cate a large tract of land west of the Mississippi river, 
the two young men determined to examine the new 
country. Procuring saddle horses and provisions they 
made their way to the then four year old town of Chicago 
where they found the infant city to be only a few frail 
houses in the marshes at the mouth of a fever breeding- 

Continuing westward they reached Fort Armstrong in 
time to cross the river and witness the gathering of 
the thousand warriors, orators and braves that met Gov- 
ernor Dodge of Wisconsin at that point in September, 
1836, to treat for the sale and surrender of the lands com- 
prised in the Keokuk reserve. Among the many who 
attended the treaty was John Gilbert, an Indian trader 
stationed on the Iowa river and by his invitation Myers 
and ( Mark extended their trip to his trading post and after 
;m examination of the country they determined to locate 
their homes in that vicinity and at once proceeded to 
stake the boundaries of their prospective farms and 
build upon each a cabin, thus becoming the first owners 
of farms and houses in what is now Johnson county. 

The land selected by Mr. Myers for a farm was about 
one mile southeast Prom the trading house, and in the 



Forty-second Annual Meeting of the 

spring of 1837 there was turned the first furrow in the 
county. In the month of May of that year breaking was 
done for Philip Clark and Henry Felkner. Mr. Myers 
improved his farm and retained its ownership for many 
years. It was long known in Pleasant Valley as the Myers 

In December, 1840, Mr. Myers was married to Miss 
Sarah A. Kidder, the daughter of John M. and Lydia 
Kidder of Seneca county, N. ~Y. Some years later he be- 
came the owner of the south half of block one in the 
county seat addition of Iowa City and there built a very 
substantial brick residence. 

In the spring of 1850 Mr. Myers and his fellow pioneer, 
Philip Clark, with a splendid outfit of horse teams, left 
Iowa City for a trip to the gold mines of California. Their 
journey was long and eventful. They at once engaged in 
mining but the long time friends were soon separated. 
Mr. Myers was taken ill and died in Sacramento City, 
October 23, 1850, at the age of 37 years. He was survived 
by his wife and three daughters. Mrs. Myers continued to 
reside in Iowa City for many years, and died at the home 
of her daughter in Salt Lake in March, 1891. 

In religion Mr. Clark was a Catholic. Mr. Myers was 
a I T iii versa list. Both were democrats. Mr. Clark was 
prominent as one of the early officers of the county. Mr. 
Myers was an active and honored member of the commun- 
ity but would never accept of public office. The finely 
improved farms of the two pioneers were monuments to 
their industry and skill as farmers and the respect of all 
who knew them is their best epitaph. 

G. ft. IRISH. 


One hundred and fifty-nine years ago Marquette floated 
in silent wonder along what is now the eastern border of 
Iowa, and seventy-seven years ago, or, in September, 1832, 
the representatives of the United States and of the Sac and 
Fox nation of Indians met upon the west bank of the 
Mississippi river within the present limits of the city of 
Davenport and negotiated a treaty by which the Indians 
sold to the United States six million acres of land. The 
tract of land was bounded on the east by the Mississippi 
river and on the west by a line beginning on the north line 
of Missouri and extending in a northeasternly direction 
to the mouth of the Upper Iowa river and being about 
fifty miles west of the Mississippi river throughout its 
entire length. 

Within this strip of country the Indians reserved four 
hundred square miles of land on the right bank of the 
lower Iowa river near its mouth for their own use. That 
body of land was known as the Keokuk reserve. 

In September, 1836, over one thousand chiefs and 
braves of the Sac and Fox Indians met Governor Dodge 
of Wisconsin near the site of the meeting of 1832 and 
negotiated a treaty by which the United States became 
the owners of the Keokuk reserve. 

The gathering at the treaty of September, 1836, was 
remarkable in that it was composed of the greatest num- 
ber comprising all of the great warriors and orators and 
chiefs of the Sac and Fox nation that had ever assembled 
to treat with the white men, and for the reason that at 
that time the United States gave to Antonie Le Claire, 


Forty-second Annual Meeting of the 

who had acted as interpreter during the formation of the 
treaty, two sections of land and this was the first trans- 
fer of land to a private individual in Iowa. 

The treaty of September, 1836, is memorable also for 
the reason that then and there originated the first settle- 
ment of Johnson county. As nearly as is known, about 
1826, the American Fur Company established a trading 
jDost on the Iowa river in what is now the northeast 
quarter of section ten where a little stream empties into 
the river from the east. John Gilbert was their agent 
there for many years and with the Indians of this locality 
he attended the treaty of 1836 and while there formed the 
acquaintance of two young men who were in quest of a 
place to locate homes. Mr. Gilbert invited them to come 
with him to the trading post on the Iowa river, and see 
for themselves the many advantages of that locality. 
Mounting their horses the trader and his two guests took 
the deep worn trail of the Indians and in due time reached 
the trading house on the banks of the Iowa. Impressed 
with the beauty of the landscape and the evident fertility 
of the soil they located claims and proceeded to build 
cabins upon the land they had selected for their future 
homes. , 

■ i 

Then as the frosts of autumn began to fall they, re- 
turned to the settlements in northern Indiana to pass the 
winter and prepare for removal to their Iowa homes in the 
early spring. 

Early in May, 18:57, Philip Clark and Eli Myers reached 
1 he homes selected by them the year before on the western 
limits of the Black Hawk purchase, bringing' with them 
tenuis and oxen, implements, seed for planting and food 
to maintain them until crops could be grown. Having 
Pe ted their tennis the breaking was started and by the 



Forty-second Annual Meeting of the 

20th of May, 1837, each of the pioneers had planted upon 
the fresh turned sod of their new homes ten acres of 
corn and and a goodly acreage of potatoes and other 

The farm selected by Mr. Clark was situated southeast 
of the trading house and in after years was divided and 
formed what was known as the Morford and Burge farms 
of Pleasant Valley. As first staked out by Mr. Clark it 
comprised about 480 acres. 

Philip Clark was born in Ireland about 1803. Coming 
to America he formed part of the wave of humanity that, 
flowing ever westward, built their homes upon the lands 
oi' the rapidly vanishing aborigines. 

The western line of the Black Hawk purchase entered 
what is now Johnson county near the southwest corner 
of Liberty township and ran thence in a straight course 
northeastwardly to a point in Cedar township where it 
crossed Cedar river. All west of that line was Indian 
land until October, 1837, at which time the Sac and Fox 
Indians sold all their lands in Iowa. At the time Clark 
and Myers made their location they were within one mile 
of the Indian lands. Mr. Clark retained his first claim 
until 1838, when he exchanged it for one further up the 

Willi the increase of settlers came divided opinion as 
in the iocatiou of a town site which in time would become 
the county seat. One party favored a location west of the 
river and they determined to name their town Osceola. 
The other party, under the lead of Gilbert and Clark, 
favored a town east of the river, and they selected upon 
Indian land in what is now section 22 East Lucas town- 
ship for a town site and obtaining consent of the Indians 


Old Settlers Association, of Johnson County 25 

they bni'lt thereon a small cabin and employed John Mor- 
ford to live in it and hold the claim for them when the 
Indians should sell and vacate the land. 

After the treaty of 1837 the town site became govern- 
ment land and Clark traded his farm located in 1836 for 
the Jvicrford claim and proceeded to lay out a large town, 
giving it the name of Napoleon. A court house was built 
and on July 4, 1838, Napoleon became the county seat of 
Johnson county. Philip Clark, after the location of the 
territorial capital at Iowa City, converted the town of 
Napoleon into a farm and for many years was one of the 
foremost farmers and business men of the county. At 
the second election of county officers, Mr. Clark was 
chosen as one of the county commiscsioners, which posi- 
tion ho held for several years. In January, 1840, he went 
to the Dubuque land office for the county and filed a 
pre-emption claim on the quarter section that had been 
selected as the county seat. Later in that year he was 
appointed to lay out the county quarter into blocks and 
lots and in much of the early territorial and county bus- 
iness and many of the stirring events of pioneer times 
he took a prominent part. 

In 1844 Mr. Clark married Miss Clarissa Lee. In the 
spring of 1850 he gave his brother-in-law power of at- 
torney; left his wife and son and his great farm of 740 
acres in his keeping, and with Eli Myers started overland 
for the gold mines of California. Soon after reaching 
their destination Mr. Myers died, and with varying for- 
tunes Mr. Clark worked in the mines until 1857, when 
on horseback he made his way from Sacramento to Iowa 
City to find his wife estranged, his great farm sold and 
his home destroyed by the villiany of his trusted agent 
and friend. After a long contest with a gang of thieves 
and their employers he regained possession of his prop- 

Forty-second Annual Meeting of th 

erty. Some years later lie sold it and the early county 
seat and the site of the. town of Napoleon became the 
present farm of James McCollister. 

Obtaining land in Newport township, Mr. Clark there 
conducted a farm. Though partially blind and much bent 
with age Mr. Clark remained active in mind and body up 
to the time of his death which occurred at his home Sep 
teniber 10, 1891, at the age of eighty-seven years. 

It is not creditable that the man who first founded a 
home within the county should rest in an unknown and 
unmarked grave on land he gave for the use of the church 
and a cemetery. G. E. IRISH. 


To Pleasant Valley township belongs the distinction of 
"being the first commercial center of Johnson county, at 
a time when trade consisted of barter with the Indians 
for the pelts and furs that were the only products dealt 
in; and also of being the starting point of settlement 
within its borders. In it were held the first business meet- 
ings and election of the early days. And there was cele- 
brated the first marriage of white people in the county. 
Also there was born the first white child in the county 
and there occurred the first death of a white person. 

In the summer of 1837, John Gilbert, having quit the 
service as agent of the American Fur Company determ- 
ined to start a trading post of his own and selecting a site 
west of the line of the Black Hawk purchase upon Indian 
land, he built for himself a trading house which stood 
in the southwest corner of section thirty-five in East 
Lucas township. 

The building was neatly constructed of round logs. It 
consisted of two cabins twenty feet square and a roofed 
space of twenty feet between them, making a structure 
twenty by sixty feet with puncheon floors and clapboard 
roof. For the permit to build on Indian territory Mr. 
Gilbert gave to Chief Poweshiek two barrels of whiskey. 

In that building on January 8, 1838, pursuant to notice, 
the citizens of the county met to talk over the needs of 
the settlement and petition the legislature for action in 
several matters of importance. On motion Henry Felkner 
was chosen chairman and Pleasant Harris, Eli Myers and 
John Gilbert were chosen as a committee to draft resolu- 


Forty-second Annual Meeting of the 

tions expressive of the sense of the meeting. After con- 
sultation, Judge Harris, made report as follows : 

Whereas, A large number of persons have settled on 
the Iowa river, on public lands in the vicinity of John 
Gilbert's trading house and there is evidence that the 
settlement will be greatly increased in numbers next 

Whereas, There is great inconvenience for want of 
roads, bridges and mail facilities, therefore, 

Eesolved, That two persons be appointed by the chair- 
man of this meeting whose duty shall be to proceed forth- 
with to Burlington and use their influence with the leg- 
islature now in session there to establish roads at differ- 
ent points on the Mississippi river and memoralize con- 
gress to establish a mail route from Burlington to the 
trading post of John Gilbert, provide for a postoffice there* 
and the appointment of a postmaster without delay. 

John Gilbert and Pleasant Harris were appointed to go 
to Burlington and they made the trip on foot. The snow 
was a foot deep and weather very cold. Their mission 
did not produce any immediate results. In the following 
year Mr. Gilbert was appointed postmaster and his com- 
mission readied him on March 6, 1839. Two days later 
he died. 

On .June L, L838, a second meeting of settlers was held 
in the trading house at which they petitioned the legisla- 
ture to organize the county of Johnson and establish the 
seal of justice at or in the town of Napoleon. On June 
22, the hill to organize the county and establish the seat 
of justice at Napoleon was passed and the rival town 
of Osceola was blotted out. 

( )n May L3, L839, the first court held in Johnson county 



forty-second Annual Meeting of the 

convened at the Gilbert trading house, Judge Joseph 
Williams on the bench. The grand and petit juries were 
called and the grand jury presented an indictment against 
Andrew J. Gregg for horse stealing. On the motion of 
T. S. Parvin, Wm. E. Austin was admitted as an attorney 
and counsellor of the court. There being no further busi- 
ness the juries were discharged and the district court ad- 

On the next day the grand jury was recalled and sworn 
as a United States grand jury for the territory of Iowa 
and proceeded to find an indictment against Gregg for 
passing counterfeit money; was then discharged and the 
United States court adjourned. 

The old trading house was not only the place of many 
important business transactions in very early times, but 
it was there that many romantic, pathetic and warlike 
scenes were enacted. A short distance west of it was 
Powesheik's town of about two thousand Indians. Gone 
are the Indians and the hardy pioneers who pressed them 
still farther to the west. The pictures of the buildings 
wherein was planned the foundations of the early im- 
provement of the county, where the claim association met 
to form rules that were for a time the well enforced law 
of the land; where the first towns were put upon the map, 
and the early roads marked out; where the vanquished 
warriors returned to report disaster and claim protection 
of the whiles, where lived and died the first white citizen 
and merchant to inhabit the county is a reminder of times 
long passed, of changed conditions and of men long gone. 


The old trading house after use us a store, court house, 
and farmer's dwelling, was destroyed by fire in the early 


Old Settlers Association of Johnson Couuty 3 1 


Kecent investigation having resulted in the finding 
of many of the remains of the buffalo in the western part 
of the state has caused much discussion in regard to the 
time when elk and buffalo were common in Iowa, and the 
incident related by Mr. Hiram H. Ludington who with 
Charles Mullan founded the city of Waterloo, is of in- 
terest. He said that he came to Iowa in 1852, and deer 
and elk were plenty in Blackhawk county at that time. 
His discription of a hunt is as follows : 


"There were buffalo in scattered herds, and plenty of 
beaver, otter, mink and other fur-bearing animals. Did 
you ever dream of a buffalo hunt in Black Hawk county! 
No? Well, I killed three buffaloes while we lived in 
Hudson in the winter of 1852-53. 

"It was along early in December, and I remember 
that the first snow was on the ground. My brother-in- 
law, a young man named John Lang, about seventeen 
years old, who lived with us, and I had gone out to hunt 
coons. We hunted along the Black Hawk to a point 
which, I think, was about three miles west of Hudson, 
near what is now the Sam Gibson place. At that place a 
little creek flows into the Black Hawk. At that point we 
saw a drove of buffaloes on the opposite side of the creek, 
and at first we thought they were cattle, then it struck 
us that they might be bears. I said to my brother-in- 
law, Tou hold the dogs and I will investigate and see 
what sort of animals they are. ' 

' * I went up onto the ice to a place where I could crawl 
up on them and, after I had worked myself along for some 
distance in the snow, I raised up, but could see nothing. 


Forty- second Annual Meeting of the 

Finally about ten feet away from where I was, I saw a 
buffalo in a thicket of hazel brush. I got a shot at him 
and he fell. Then I fell to loading again as fast as I 
could, but the buffalo got up and finally managed to get 
away. By this time I got sight of a buffalo cow on a 
side hill, and I shot her, the ball entering her eye. She 
fell over and rolled down into the creek, or rather onto 
the ice. 

"I saw several other buffaloes about six or eight rods 
away and I fired at a large bull. He didn't appear to pay 
very much attention to the shot and so I loaded and gave 
it to him again, this time using two balls. He switched 
around as though he didn't like the dose and this time I 
saw that the herd was getting a trifle uneasy. Just then 
another one jumped out broadside toward me and I shot 
him through the heart. He fell and expired immediately. 
All this time I had failed to notice that I was directly in 
the trail that the buffaloes had taken to reach the spot 
where they were. I observed this fact, however, in a few 
moments, when the whole herd came charging down to- 
ward where I stood. I saw a jack oak tree a short distanc 
from me and I made for it. I got there when the buffa- 
loes were about a rod and a half away, and — well, I 
climbed that tree, and I wasn't very slow about it either. 
As they went past me I couldn't shoot any of them, be- 
cause there was no cap on my rifle. 

"There were twenty-eight buffaloes in the herd and I 
gol 1 wo of them. I found afterward that the reason I did 
not gel more was because I had been shooting too high 
to reach their vital parts. I had been accustomed to 
hunting deer and knew very little about killing buffaloes. 
I shot in all twenty eight times, or once for each member 
of the herd, though 1 did not shoot at all of them. 
Sometimes I used two halls in my rifle and sometimes 
1 hroe. 

Old Settlers Association of Johnson Comity 33 


' 1 The next day a buffalo calf came to the place where I 
had killed the cow and I got that. The day after John 
Virden and I went up to the forks of the Black Hawk, 
about five or six miles, and we got another, but that was 
the last we saw of the herd, and it is probable that was 
the last herd of buffaloes that was ever in this section. 
A few days after a party who was going from what was 
known as Hardin City to Cedar Falls, came across the 
large buffalo that I had wounded. He had got separated 
from the rest of the herd and was so badly hurt that they 
killed him by knocking him on the head. ' ' 


An article appearing in the Des Moines Capital, dated 
Indianola, ascribed to a graybeard of that place the honor 
of having lived longer in this state than any other person. 
He stated that he came here in 1836. Mrs. Emily Eicord 
of this city has lived in the state since 1834 and in the 
county since 1840. Mrs. Eicord is well known here. The 
Indianola correspondent to the Capital made a poor guess.